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[637] and Canby moved on the 20th, and those of Wilson on The 22nd of March. No formidable army opposed either of these commanders, for their expeditions were directed towards the interior of the region which had been stripped bare on account of the exigencies in front of Johnston and Lee.

Stoneman marched from East Tennessee, at first into North Carolina, but soon turned northward, and struck the Tennessee and Virginia railroad at various points, destroying the bridges and pushing on to within four miles of Lynchburg, so that all retreat of Lee in that direction was cut off. Then returning to North Carolina in the rear of Johnston, he captured large amounts of scattered stores, fourteen guns, and several thousand prisoners, but was checked by the news of the surrender of both the great rebel armies.

On the 27th of March, Canby's force arrived before Mobile; it was in three divisions, commanded by A. J. Smith, Gordon Granger, and Steele. Smith and Granger were ordered to attack Spanish Fort, on the eastern side of Mobile bay, while Steele invested Blakely, above the town. Both these places were taken on the 9th of April, Blakely by assault, and after severe and gallant fighting on both sides; and on the 11th, Mobile was evacuated. In these operations two hundred guns were captured, and four thousand prisoners; but the bulk of the garrison, nine thousand in number, escaped.

Wilson's command, consisting of twelve thousand five hundred mounted men, marched south from the Tennessee river into the heart of Alabama. Forrest was in front with a motley force, made up of conscripts and local militia: old men and boys,

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